In the penultimate post of our small business energy series we look at how exercise affects our rest and recovery and we also take a quick look at some sleep hygiene tips.
Building a business while raising a young family can be tough, but surely doesn’t need to leave me this exhausted. So I am out to fix my energy issues and document the trip along the way. To do this in a slightly more scientific manner I am working withFrontier Wellbeing who use wearable technology, psychology and mindfulness to transform lives – particularly of entrepreneurs and business leaders. If you are interested in how the tech works private message me or connect with me on LinkedIn with ‘Tech’ as the subject.
First, exercise. In the last post (see here) we talked about how a regular cardiovascular exercise routine would help you get into and stay ‘in the green’ or in your Parasympathetic dominated state (PNS) and why that is a good thing. Here I want to talk about the timing of exercise and what that will do to your system. Below is a chart of a person that did a heavy workout in the evening. As you can see she was Sympathetic dominant (red = energy using) in the four hours after exercise finished and didn’t fully start putting energy back into her system until around the 2 – 3am mark after being in bed since 11pm.
This chart on the other hand is someone that did a heavy workout in the morning. As you can see here, the sleep period is PNS dominant – i.e. they were putting energy back into their system all night while asleep from shortly after the 11pm bedtime.
So the tip here is:
Complete your workout session at least 4.5 hours before you get into bed
In regards to sleep hygiene – let’s look at my chart. The concerning part of my sleep period (10pm – 6am) is the slope. This means that I am getting my largest energy deposits just before and as I wake up.
This is why sometimes I wake up groggy even after my full eight hours. To flatten out the gradient of my chart here are 10 tips from psychologist and sleep Guru Martin Kiem.
Switch off all blue light technology for at least 40 minutes before bed (try reading a book)
Cut off alcohol and sugar at least 2.5 hours before bedtime
Make sure you have your last main meal no later than 3 hours before bedtime
Cut off caffeine at least 6 hours before bedtime
Have a protein rich breakfast in the morning but not too much protein in the 3 hours before bed (good for weight loss, but not so much for sleeping well)
Make sure your room is really dark – you can get some black out blinds pretty cheaply
Try to keep your room temperature at 22 degrees Celsius
Do some light stretching before getting into bed
Do some breathing exercises (5 seconds in, 5 seconds out – for 2 minutes) or meditate
Our bodies like predictability therefore aim to go to bed and get up at the same time
That almost wraps up our energy series. Next week for the final post, we are looking at the actual results (financial, staff engagement and with customers) from companies that have engaged in this work.
Andrew is CEO at Austep, an organisation that works with small businesses, start-ups and entrepreneurs to develop and grow and a director of the Asia Pacific Association for Mentors. For more information on how you can grow your business and succeed connect with Andrew on LinkedIn at https://au.linkedin.com/in/andrewksharp
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